It’s been almost seven years since I first drove up Michigan Hill and on to Rockefeller Road outside Richford, upstate New York. I stopped at the sign with bullet holes through it, that tells the story of the world’s richest man – John D Rockefeller being born on this spot, in the middle of nowhere.

The only thing that remains of the house is a small rock foundation surrounded by pine trees. About a mile down the dirt road I drove slowly past a few trailer homes where I was met by suspicious eyes behind drawn curtains- and as I found out years later – loaded shotguns.

I wanted to tell the story of the birthplace of possibly the greatest American Dream in history, and find out what people who live here today dream of. It’s hard to grasp the contrast between the lives of people on today’s Rockefeller Road and what became of one of its sons – a man who contributed in great part to make America what it is today. Despite the relative geographical proximity, the distance from Rockefeller Road to Rockefeller Plaza is unimaginable.

Today, numerous visits later, I am greeted by friends when I come back to “The Hill” as the locals call it. I have been invited to take part in life on Rockefeller Road. I have seen older folks pass away, kids grow up and have children of their own – and I have brought my own family here. I’ve debated with myself when my story will be complete, and I thought this time maybe – as I finally got a magazine assignment (for norwegian Dagens Næringsliv) with writer Eskil Engdal to come back and “finish the story”. But as I am here, I realize life goes on, my friends are still there – and so there is no end to the story. Instead It seems I became part of it myself.

Chris Maluszynski